Thursday, October 29, 2015

Have You Ever Treadled?....

After cleaning my little Featherweight and getting it running again, I decided that maybe I should try again to get my Grandmother's treadle working.  I have had it in my possession for at least 25 years and it has been mostly used as a decorator piece.  I know a little bit about it's history.  My Grandfather purchased it for my Grandmother in 1939 and they drove all the way to Ft Smith, AR to get it.  In today's world, this would probably be a 2 or 3 hour drive.  However I would imagine that in 1939 this was a minimum of an all day trip and maybe even a two day trip.  So here's the little machine in it's 5 drawn cabinet:

From the serial number on the machine, it was built in 1937.  In this picture, you can see that the belt in missing.  I have ordered a new leather belt for it.  I have run the belt through all the grooves and checked the fit but I haven't made the finally snip yet so I can get it attached.  I will probably wait on that so that I can clean and oil the machine.  Even with all the neglect that I have bestowed on this machine everything is still operational.  The only thing I haven't attempted yet is the winding a bobbin.  Here's a close up of the machine:

The decals on the bed are pretty worn which makes me think this machine has gotten a lot of use.  The finish is more a matte black and not a shiny black.  I do not know if it should be shiny or not.  In this picture you can see that I have already added a new red felt pad for the spool holder.  Maybe I should look for a black felt pad.  I think it would look a little nicer.  Here's a close up of the bobbin area:

This picture really shows the shuttle area.  This machine is very different than machines with a motor.  You can see in the picture the shuttle which is bullet shaped.  This is called an oscillating or vibrating shuttle and the whole unit swings both and forth while you are sewing. I suppose you could say that this is an early top loading bobbin except the whole shuttle and bobbin dropped in.

Unfortunately, I only have one bobbin for the shuttle.  I've been looking for more but they are really hard to locate.  There are new bobbins available but they are a little bit shorter than the bobbins that came with the machine and sometimes the bobbin winder will not work with them.  It really depends on the machine.

My goal is to get this machine cleaned up and oil, get the belt on, replace the missing piece of felt on the bobbin area  (if you look closely, you can see the black hole just at the bottom of the shuttle), and see if I can figure out the art of treadling.  In the past when I tried to treadle, I could get the machine to make four stitches forward and then, it would go four stitches backwards.  Not exactly what I was wanting to do.  The manual actually gives a little bit of information on how to get the treadling process going.  So, I'm going to give it a try.

If anyone has any information on maintenance on the treadle base, I would love to directed to the source.  I'm sure with all the metal parts that something is suppose to be oiled or greased but none of the manuals that I have acknowledge maintenance on this part of the machine.

Happy Stitching!

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